By Dalton Ray —
Hosting the ACC conference tournament, field hockey needed a goal in the 67th minute to escape six-seed Syracuse with a 3-2 win. Senior Marigrace Ragsdale raced down the pitch, gathered a pass from senior Nicole Woods and swung home the game-winning goal. Seconds later, teammates embraced Ragsdale with a group hug.
Louisville let up an early goal in the first half and the Orange dominated the time of possession. The Cardinals’ offense couldn’t get shots on goal, leading to them trail 1-0 at the half.
Adjustments worked out well for U of L as Louisville scored back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 lead.
The eleventh-ranked Orange fired right back, tying the game in the 42nd minute. A 22-minute stalemate ensued.
With time coming to an end, the Cardinals started to press Syracuse. Louisville’s pressure paid off as the counterattack led the game-winning goal with just two minutes remaining.
The win is Louisville’s first ACC tournament win, a sweet moment for coach Justine Sowry.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming. I can think of years with us being in the Big East, waiting for that first tournament win. Just like then, this will get the monkey off their back now,” Sowry said.
Sowry said she didn’t exactly see how the final sequence went down, but said Ragsdale’s perseverance is huge part of her success as a player.
“She has been through a lot in her career,” Sowry said. “She is so determined right now.”
The Cardinals move on to play the Duke Blue Devils in the semifinals, a team they lost 5-0 to in mid September.
Acting athletic director Vince Tyra was at the game and the self-proclaimed sports junkie said he is enjoying his first ACC tournament.
“I love seeing the other sports come out and support our field hockey team. It’s great seeing soccer, lacrosse and everyone else out here,” Tyra said.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal